It’s easy to jazz up a bare wall or fence with colourful hanging baskets. You don’t need to stick to flowers either. Why not grow an attractive selection of fresh herbs or a quick growing salad crop in a basket or container close to the kitchen door? Whether you’re making the most of your vertical space or filling empty pots on your patio, here are some practical tips and quick video guides to help you put your hanging baskets to good use through summer and winter.
Browse our full range of hanging basket and container annuals for inspirational colour, structure and scent.
If you have a greenhouse or can provide frost protection for your plants, you can start planting up your baskets, flower pouches and containers in April. Standing them in a greenhouse for a few weeks allows the plants to reach their full flowering size early in the season.
If you don't have a greenhouse, you should wait until early summer to plant them up, when all risk of frost has passed. Alternatively, put your beautifully planted hanging baskets and containers out into a warm and sheltered spot during the day, but be sure to bring them back under cover at night until the weather warms up and you’re certain they won’t succumb to frost.
During this period, turn the baskets each day to ensure even growth, deadhead the flowers as they fade, and pinch out the growing points of any long, straggly plants to encourage them to bush out.
Traditional mesh hanging baskets are made of plastic-coated wire, although reusable plastic hanging baskets are also available. If you’re using a wire hanging basket, you’ll require a liner to contain the compost and plants. The cheapest option is inexpensive sheet plastic which can be cut to size and disguised by a layer of straw or hessian. You’ll need to cut slits in the sides of your liner if you want to feed trailing plants through.
For a quick and easy solution, you can buy coco basket liners to drop into your wire frames. To save time and dispense with the need for liners altogether, why not try our Easy Fill hanging baskets with pre-cut ‘gates’ around the sides for your plants to cascade through?
A general rule of thumb for hanging baskets is to use one plant per inch of basket diameter – so 12 plants per 30cm (12 inch) hanging basket.
The only exception to this is when you use strong-growing plants such as fuchsias and geraniums (pelargoniums). For these varieties, you’ll only need to use 5 plants per 30cm (12 inch) hanging basket.
|Plant||22cm (9") basket||30cm (12") basket||30cm (12") patio container||Eezee Patio Bag||Flower Tower|
|Begonia (fibrous, e.g. Organdy)||6||10||8||10||32|
|Begonia (tuberous, e.g. Apricot Shades)||3||5||5||10||21|
|Fuchsia (trailing and semi-trailing)||3||5||5||10||16|
|Geranium (bedding Pelargoniums)||3||5||5||10||32|
|Geranium (trailing Pelargoniums)||3||5||5||10||16|
|Pansy and Viola||6||10||8||10||32|
|Primrose and Polyanthus||4||7||7||10||32|
|Sweet Pea (trailing)||5||12||10||10||32|
|Verbena (trailing, e.g. Union Jack Mixed||3||7||7||10||32|
Here’s a step-by-step guide to planting up your hanging basket:
Hanging baskets, containers and flower pouches should be placed in their final position once all risk of frost has passed. If your hanging basket or container has been living in a warm greenhouse, be sure to harden the plants off for a week before placing them permanently outside.
Use a strong bracket to hang your basket. Provided your plants aren't shade-loving, choose a sunny and warm location, preferably south-facing so your baskets and containers receive full sun all day. Turn the baskets regularly and try to avoid windy sites if possible.
Due to the volume of plants in hanging baskets and containers, they dry out very quickly in fine weather so keep an eye on the soil and water if the top half-inch of compost feels dry. Some plants like lobelia don’t recover if they become too dry, so take care! Watering in the evening helps to reduce evaporation.
While flowers look beautiful, why not try growing your own vegetables and herbs in a hanging basket? Ornamental and edible, you can grow all sorts of fresh produce this way. Many herbs and vegetables have beautifully coloured leaves, seed pods or fruits, so choose crops that look as good as they taste.
When lining a fruit or vegetable basket, always choose sheet plastic or polythene to help with water retention - it’s essential that they don’t dry out. Also, vegetables and herbs do need more space than bedding plants. For example, you only need 3 trailing tomato plants per 35cm (14 inch) basket or container. Bush cucumbers become quite large, so 1 plant per basket or container would be sufficient. Position your basket or container in a sheltered, sunny site, although herbs and cucumbers do appreciate some shade.
The best vegetables for hanging baskets and containers include:
Hanging baskets and containers aren’t just for summer displays. They’re just as effective in brightening up a winter or spring garden. Watch our helpful video guide to learn how to plant up an easy fill hanging basket for winter.
Good perennial plants for winter hanging baskets and containers include dwarf conifers, Euonymus, dwarf Hebes, Cordylines and Heuchera, which all provide structure.
Heathers, Thyme and Gaultheria procumbens are evergreen plants with good spreading habits. Small varieties of grasses such as Carex flagillifera and Carex comans will spill over the sides of a basket or container providing a trailing effect. Other good trailing plants include ivy and periwinkle (Vinca). For colourful flowers try Cyclamen, polyanthus and winter pansies.
We hope we’ve inspired you to put your hanging baskets to good use, all year round. For even more helpful information on how to plant and grow hanging baskets, check out our dedicated hub page where you’ll find articles, videos and the best plants to try.